- Associated Press - Thursday, December 29, 2016


DENVER (AP) - Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam killed himself after struggling with depression, an autopsy report confirmed, but investigators will never know whether the one-time running back suffered chronic head trauma from playing football because his family did not consent to those tests.

Salaam was found dead Dec. 5 in a park near the University of Colorado, where he played from 1992-94, becoming one of the greatest players in the program’s history. He was 42.

Salaam died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, an autopsy by the Boulder County Coroner’s Office confirmed. Investigators found a note at the scene. They also noted in the report that Salaam’s family said he had a history of depression and “recent life stressors.”

Salaam was Muslim, and Islam prohibits bodies from being defiled after death. His family did not allow the coroner’s office to perform tests that would have revealed whether he suffered chronic head trauma from playing the game.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Arkansas senior tight end Jeremy Sprinkle was suspended from the Belk Bowl against No. 18 Virginia Tech after police accused him of shoplifting from the department store that sponsors the game.

Sprinkle was charged by Charlotte Mecklenburg Police with shoplifting by concealment Tuesday at the Belk department store and was released.

As a perk of the game, Belk gave players on both teams a $450 gift card to one of their department stores and 90 minutes to spend it. The police report indicates that Sprinkle shoplifted $260 worth of merchandise.

Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema announced the decision to suspend Sprinkle about two hours before the game. Arkansas squandered a 24-point halftime lead and lost 35-24.

Sprinkle had 33 receptions for 380 yards and four touchdowns and is projected as one of the top 10 tight ends available in next year’s NFL draft.


PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury.

Coach Mike Sullivan said Murray is “week to week.” Murray left Wednesday night’s comeback victory over Carolina after the second period. Marc-Andre Fleury came on in relief as the Penguins rallied for a 3-2 win.

Murray helped the Penguins to the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup last spring. The 22-year-old is 13-3-1 with a 2.18 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage this season.

The 32-year-old Fleury, the winningest goaltender in club history, is 11-5-4 with a 3.13 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Denver Broncos pass rush specialist DeMarcus Ware is scheduled to have surgery Friday to repair a ruptured disk, ending what’s been an injury-filled season.

Ware may have played his last game in Denver, possibly even the last game of his career. But on his Instagram account, Ware hinted that he’s not ready to hang it up just yet.


Serena Williams is tying the knot.

The tennis great announced her engagement to Alexis Ohanian, posting a poem on Reddit that she accepted the proposal of the social news website’s co-founder.

Williams’ agent, Jill Smoller, confirmed the engagement in an email to The Associated Press.

Ohanian wrote on his Facebook page, “She said yes.”

Williams, 35, has been dating Ohanian, 33, for more than a year.

Williams in July won Wimbledon for the seventh time to tie Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles. In September she passed Roger Federer for most all-time Grand Slam match victories, winning her 308th in the U.S. Open.

No wedding date has been announced.


BEIJING (AP) - Argentine striker Carlos Tevez has signed to play for Shanghai Shenhua, becoming the latest in a procession of star players to join the Chinese Super League.

Shanghai Shenhua said it paid an $11 million transfer fee to Argentine club Boca Juniors.

Tevez is expected to join team training on the Japanese island of Okinawa next month, with a formal introduction to follow soon afterward. The next Super League season begins in March.


SEMMERING, Austria (AP) - Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin used a spectacular final run to win a night race for her third World Cup triumph in three days.

Enjoying a slim opening-run lead, the American made several mistakes and was 0.33 seconds off the lead at the final split time before accelerating to win the race by 0.64 ahead of Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia. Wendy Holdener of Switzerland was 1.54 back in third.

After winning two giant slaloms the previous days, Shiffrin continued her dominance in slalom by landing her 23th career win in the discipline.

Shiffrin extended her lead in the overall standings to 215 points over defending champion Lara Gut of Switzerland, who usually doesn’t compete in slaloms.

SANTA CATERINA VALFURVA, Italy (AP) - Alexis Pinturault won an Alpine combined race to match Jean-Claude Killy for the French record with his 18th World Cup victory.

Pinturault edged overall World Cup leader Marcel Hirscher of Austria by 0.34 seconds in the event, which combined the times from one super-G run and one slalom run.

Super-G leader Aleksander Aamodt Kilde finished third, 1.13 behind.

Killy’s wins came in 1967 and 1968 when he won the first two overall World Cup titles.

Pinturault stood third behind Kilde and Hirscher after the super-G portion of the race and then had the fastest slalom run.

Pinturault has now won the last three World Cup combined races.

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